January 1st, 1994- episode #28

Crossing the Line

Miners gather in front of Loren Bray's store to protest Loren's not extending credit to striking miners, and for doing business with the mine owners. A budding union leader, Conrad, is there trying to organize the workers. At the same time, Travis Stone, the mining boss, rides up, hands out flyers advertising for scabs. An angry miner throws a stick of dynamite onto Loren's porch, which Sully, who gets knocked out in the subsequent fray, comes to just soon enough to put out. Matthew takes a flyer -- decides he'll take the job to augment building costs on his homestead. By doing this, he's at cross-purposes with Sully and Mike, who try to talk him out of it.

Grace tells Loren she won't be buying anything from him until the strike's over, due to his unfair trade practices with the striking miners. Matthew finds, to his dismay, that Loren charges 10 cents on every dollar of "scrip" (miner's credit) for "bookkeeping" costs. Later, as Mike administers some bicarbonate of soda (Brian's got a tummy-ache from too much candy purchased at Loren's store), Brian comes to the conclusion that Mr. Bray's trading practices are unfair and that he will boycott him as well.

As town tensions gather, there's a cave-in at the mine, which re-unites the strife-torn townsfolk. Conrad, the union leader, even agrees to help dig out the miners when Sully tells him they'll probably be happy to join his union afterward. Sully, Mike, Robert E and Horace go down into the mine. Robert E and Horace find an unconscious miner and go back; Sully and Mike end up saving Matthew in the nick of time, though they thought they'd have to amputate his leg to get him out from under a rock and a rising water line. Fortunately, Sully, who used to be a powder man, finds some dynamite and blows the rock off Matthew's leg.

Meanwhile, outside the cave, Loren confronts the mine boss, Travis Stone, and decides to mend his avaricious business practices with the mine owners and miners in response to pressure from Brian, who boycotts his store, and Dorothy, who writes an article about unsafe mining conditions.

As the episode concludes, Matthew tells Stone he doesn't want the job. Stone replies, "... plenty of men to take your place." Mike retorts, "... not here, Mr. Stone. Not today."